The perils of customer reviews

Apple sent through a promotion email the other day – pitching the new version of We are the World.

There was though, a problem when I clicked through:

Their heart is in the right place but this song is terrible.

“This new version, borne out of hubris and greed, features Auto Tune and rappers going yo-yo-yo over a five-year old backing track. In an effort to throw together numerous artists and cash in on a tragedy, they forgot the harmonizing that made the original distinct.”

Two out of the three reviews on the linked to page were very negative:

Meanwhile the song has an excellent 4.5/5 star rating, from 7475 reviewers (this is the US store).

So would your business link through to a product page with potentially negative customer reviews? Would you massage the results? Should Apple?

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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4 Responses to The perils of customer reviews

  1. Rob says:

    At least they are open and allow their customers to be honest. Look at 857 reviews of one of their products, which only ranks 2.5 stars. http://store.apple.com/nz/product/MB770G/A
    Many companies would delete the negative comments.

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  2. Daniel says:

    I can’t believe you pose this question. The fallout when people find out that a company has been massaging reviews and scores because marketing dollars were spent on it would hurt a company even more than just leaving it be. Just look at GameSpot!

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  3. 3. My take on your question may not be too relevant for your line of business, since my experience with Customer Reviews/Feedback and Reputation Management are focused on Consumer Electronics industry. However I believe that none of us can afford to ignore what our customers say about their experience in doing business with us.

    There is no down side to helping them do it – in addition to gaining better qualified customers and repelling potential customers, who would not be happy with your service, you can learn how to improve your offering, product or business practice. In addition trying to silence unhappy, reasonably or not, customers you would risk your reputation much more, as they have many outlets in social media that you cannot control. There are many examples of companies that tried to manipulate and fake customer feedback. They ruined their reputation, hurt their business and even were penalized by government agencies. I wrote about these in my blog http://blog.amplifiedanalytics.com/2009/10/authenticity-of-consumer-reviews/

    The voice of Customer has always existed, it is much more amplified now and therefore can be effectively measured and managed.

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  4. Daniel says:

    I think Lance’s question was more about whether or not you’d actively promote and link to a product that was negatively reviewed, rather than the merits of reviews or the idea of ‘massaging’. I think the answer is ‘it depends’. I’ve done it when the product in question was one of a number of links in a newsletter, but I wouldn’t do it if the product was the hero product as it is in the Apple example.
    But then is the promo an endorsement by Apple of the new version of “We are the world’? I don’t think it is, so there is probably a little more room to then link through to the product regardless of the reviews on the product page.

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